Croatia’s Regional Cuisines

Croatia is geographically positioned on the crossroads of four cultural areas : German, Latin, Turkish and Slavic.It has a long-standing gastronomic tradition. It is enough to move from one region to another, from the continental interior to the Adriatic coast and you will see various influences. There is no such thing as Croatian cuisine.

I will represent the most important gastronomic icons and traditional dishes for five main Croatian regions: Istria, Kvarner, Dalmatia, Zagreb and Slavonia. You must taste it!!

Istria is the perfect combination of the rural and urban. Its cuisine reflects this duality.

From the sea, we have excellent fish and shellfish. The forests and hill regions provide meat, mushrooms, artisan cheeses and fruit. The trademarks of Istrian cuisine are various kinds of indigenous pasta (pljukanci, fuži, Labinski krafi), wild asparagus, truffles, famous dry-cured ham prsut, some of the best olive oils in the world and local wine varieties like the white Malvazija and red Teran, but also great brandies like biska or medica. Biska is domestic brandy that is made from mistletoe and three species of grass. The original recipe is old about two thousand years and comes from the Celts who were inhabited on the Istrian peninsula. Medica is also one of the ‘most dangerous’ brandy – sweet, smooth, gently slides down the throat, once you start, you will not know to stop, and then it will be too late.

Kvarner is the region with some of the best Croatian restaurants stretched along small area. There are plenty of local specialties and culinary icons, like Lovran chestnuts and cherries, cheese of Pag, cake of Rab ( rapska torta), lamb of Pag and Žlahtina wine.

Dalmatian food is fascinating in its simplicity and the purity of flavors. Naturally, the highlight is the seafood prepared in countless ways (but the best thing is gradele = grill), but there are also fantastic things like meat prepared under a peka (baking bell), local cheese and dry-cured ham, eels and frogs from the hinterland (Skradin, Metkovic), herbal brandies, prošek sweet wine, Mediterranean desserts based on figs, almonds, oranges and lemon.

Zagreb’s cuisine consists primarily of meat, pastry, vegetables and dairy products — all from the rural areas surrounding of Zagreb. Some well known typical dishes are štrukli, baked turkey with mlinci, sir i vrhnje (cheese and sour cream), kotlovina, various sausages, kremšnita ( samoborska), strudels etc.

Slavonia is known as the place where the food is most plentiful, rich and tasteful. The influence of Hungary was strong, so paprika is the number one spice here. Slavonia is the most important part of Croatia when it comes to agriculture and cattle raising. Meat products are the centre of its cuisine and tradition. Kulen, kulenova seka, mast, čvarci, švargle, čobanac, paprikaš…It is hard to say all specialties. There are also excellent dishes with freshwater fish such as carp, pike and catfish.

Visit Croatia and its regions, enjoy a good food, wine and welcome!!